33 week Pregnancy Pic ~ ElephantEats.com

My belly is poking out from under my shirt now!

I’m feeling bigger every day. 

We just finished taking our childbirth classes. The last class was a “Baby Care” class that taught about changing diapers, swaddling and other such things. I thought it was useful but Nate said he won’t remember anything we learned by the time the baby comes. I do agree that you probably don’t really start learning til you’re actually doing it. 

I also went to a Breastfeeding class that Nate chose not to join in on (i was only one of 3 women whose significant others didn’t come). I told him it was fine but after going I think he actually would have gotten a lot out of it. Oh, but he also had an excuse since he was hospitalized last week…long story involving a seizure on our morning commute and a kidney stone. Thankfully he’s doing much better now! Probably the scariest moment of my life tho, and I’m so glad I was on the train with him. 

A couple weeks ago, I had my checkup and when I stood up at the end the doctor said “wow, your belly is very prominent!” You know if an ObyGyn says you’re big, you must be :( No wonder it’s getting so hard to move!

While I was there, my doc asked if I had any contractions. I told her that I get what I think are Braxton-Hicks contractions and she confirmed that that’s what it sounded like. She said they’re perfectly harmless unless you get more than 4 in an hour, in which case it could be a sign of pre-term labor.

Of course I noticed the contractions even more after she told me that and by the end of the day I was feeling them continuously, especially when I walked to meet Nate at the train. My doctor had told me that when I feel them I should chug water since it could be a sign of dehydration.

Weeks 31-33 Collage ~ ElephantEats.com

My belly is getting so big it’s going out of the photo box…

All through dinner I chugged water and a couple hours later I was still getting them every 5 min. I debated what to do since it was like 9:30pm by this point, but finally decided to call the doc. She told me to lay down and rest and keep drinking water, and if they didn’t ease up, to go to the hospital.

I rested and by 10:30 i felt like they were still coming although at this point I was confused what was a contraction and what wasn’t. I didn’t wanna deal with going to the hospital and being there til the early hours of the morning. but at the same time I was nervous to go to bed in case something was wrong. Finally I decided I’d just drive myself to the hospital since I wasn’t in pain, just uncomfortable.

I checked in and they monitored me for about an hour before the doc came in. I dozed on and off since it was way past my bedtime at this time. The doc there confirmed that I was having contractions so she did some tests to make sure it wasn’t pre-term labor…thankfully it wasn’t. After another couple hours of monitoring and making me drink about a quart of water, I was released. I got home at about 2am! In the end I was glad I went though. Better safe than sorry!

In the meantime, I’ve been drinking water religiously since then and I’m still getting contractions semi-regularly. I told my doc at my 33 wk appt and she said to just keep drinking water and resting. Luckily I’m going to start working from home this Friday, which she confirmed was a good idea since the contraction happen more often when I’m walking- my commute is really getting to me.

In nursery related news, I drew a few woodland animals and framed them to hang in the nursery. I decided to go with orange as an accent color so i made a mat with some scrapbook paper.

Woodland Nursery artwork ~ ElephantEats.com

I’m feeling majorly behind on getting baby stuff and I’m starting to stress. I still have barely any clothes, no crib mattress or baby tub. Basically all I have is a crib and car seat (which I need to install soon!) :( I’ve been hitting up my mommy friends to figure out what I need but am feeling majorly overwhelmed. I can’t belive the baby could be here possibly in like a month….

 I’m actually posting a recipe!!!

Banana Snack Cake ~ ElephantEats.com

Apparently leg cramps are a common symptom of pregnancy. I’ve been getting so many of them that I wake up in the middle of the night in agony. Any time I flex my foot or calf in the slightest it cramps up.

I’ve long known that potassium can help with leg cramps, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to start eating a banana every day. Now whenever I go to the market, I buy a big bunch, figuring that the ones that don’t get eaten can get turned into something delicious- it helps that I’m loving cooking in my new kitchen :)

Banana Snack Cake ~ ElephantEats.com

The first week I had leftovers, I made our favorite chocolate chip banana bread recipe (which I totally need to share with you guys some time). Then last week I decided a banana snack cake would be a tasty treat. 

In addition to trying a new recipe, I decided to experiment with White Whole Wheat flour. Monica had first told me about this flour and has been touting it as awesome, especially if you want the whole grains from whole wheat flour but don’t love the dry and gritty texture it adds.

I had never heard of white whole wheat flour so I decided to research it a bit and give it a try. The Whole Grains Council explains it as the following:

“White wheat is a different type of wheat that has no major genes for bran color (unlike traditional “red” wheat which has one to three bran color genes). An easy way to think of it is as a sort of albino wheat. The bran of white wheat is not only lighter in color but it’s also milder in flavor, making whole white wheat more appealing to many people accustomed to the taste of refined flour.

The term “white flour” has often been used to mean “refined flour,” so “whole white wheat flour” sounds like a contradiction in terms. But it is simply WHOLE flour – including the bran, germ and endosperm – made from WHITE wheat.”

Banana Snack Cake ~ ElephantEats.com

The one thing I was skeptical about was how it compares nutritionally to regular whole wheat flour, but the council goes on to say that experts consider these two kinds of whole wheat to be the same, nutritionally. I was sold!

I bought King Arthur Flour brand. Usually, if subbing whole wheat for all-purpose flour in a recipe, you would only substitue part of the all-purpose for whole wheat, lest you dry out your baked goods. Since I was using a lighter whole wheat flour and had the moisture from the bananas, I decided to use 100% of the white whole wheat flour.

Honestly, the result was amazing! It definitely helped that the bananas already added moisture, plus I upped the sour cream amount from the original recipe. And it never hurts to have a creamy cream cheese frosting on top.

I could feel the texture of the whole wheat in the cake, but I thought it went perfectly with the bananas and made even a small piece extremely filling! It also totally made this cake ok to eat for breakfast ;)

Banana Snack Cake ~ ElephantEats.com 

Whole Wheat Banana Spice Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Serves 12
A really moist, spiced snack cake made healthier with the addition of white whole wheat flour!
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Cake
  1. 2 cups White Whole Wheat flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  6. 1 teaspoon allspice
  7. 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  8. Pinch cloves
  9. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  10. 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  11. 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
  12. 1 1/4 cup sour cream
  13. 2 large eggs
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. 1 8 ounce block light or regular cream cheese, room temperature
  2. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  3. 2 cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  5. Pinch salt
  6. Milk (only if needed for thinning the icing to a spreading consistency)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour a 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater blade attachment or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 1 - 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated. Mix in the sour cream and the bananas.
  4. Pour in the flour mixture, a little bit at a time, beating continuously until well-incorporated.
  5. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden and a toothpick or tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the frosting, fit a stand mixer with the beater attachment or use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer. On medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat for another 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and pinch salt; beat for another minute or so until smooth. Add a little milk (a couple of teaspoons at a time) if the frosting seems too stiff to spread.
  8. Spread frosting onto completely cooled cake. Cut into 12 pieces and serve. Cover and store leftover cake in the refrigerator. The cake stays moist even straight out of the fridge!
Adapted from Kitchen Treaty
Adapted from Kitchen Treaty
http://elephanteats.com/

I have a recipe all ready to post finally! It will go up in a few days but I thought I’d give you a little pregnancy update in the meantime. 

Pregnancy 27_28_30 weeks_Collage ~ ElephantEats.com

I’ve been MIA and missed a couple weeks of a belly pics because I managed to somehow throw my back out. I woke up one morning with it hurting and by the next morning I literally couldn’t move. It wasn’t fun.

My doc told me to head over to the PET unit at the hospital which is basically the ER for pregnant women. I didn’t know it existed but it sure made the wait better! 

I wasn’t worried about the baby since he was kicking a ton, but wanted to make sure I didn’t have some sort of bladder infection. Turns out it was just muscular and they gave me some pregnancy-safe muscle relaxers that I took for a few days and then switched to Tylenol. 

I was back at work this past week but still in some pain. I got this pregnancy back support thing that you wear around and it seems to help a bit. I think I just need to take it easy and be careful of my posture now that I have what looks like a soccer ball strapped to my belly. 

I stupidly decided to paint in the nursery right when my back was feeling better and managed to take my recovery back a couple days. Oh well. 

I painted birch trees in the corner of the nursery where the crib will eventually be. I’m going for a Woodland Theme as I think I mentioned in my last post. Here are some before and after pics :)

Nursery Before ~ ElephantEats.com

Nursery “Before” (Excuse the mess of stuff- the nursery was a dumping ground while unpacking)

Nursery Progress ~ ElephantEats.com

Nursery “Progress” – Still need furniture, obviously

You can’t see it in this pic since I added it later, but I “carved” the baby’s initials into one of the trees. Nate thought I should add a little heart with his and my initials in another tree, which I think would be super cute!

I’d seen a bunch of other blogs doing this little pregnancy update and although it’s not quite as fun since I haven’t been doing it all along and so can’t compare now to then, I stil thought it would be nice to look back on later: 

How far along:  30 weeks

30 week Pregnancy Pic ~ ElephantEats.com

Gender:  Baby boy!

What Fruit are you? He’s the size of a large cabbage now- about 15.7 inches long now and weighs almost 3 pounds

Due date:  September 8, 2014 – At 12 weeks they told me I was measuring a week ahead and he seems to be measuring consistently according to that now. At the last appointment his head was measuring large (thanks a lot, Nate!) but his body was right on track.

Total weight gain/loss:  At my 29 wk appt, I was up 20 pounds according to my scale at home, but my doc is claiming 23. They told me this is right on track and I should be gaining about 1 lb per week now. 

Exercise: I walk about 40 min a day with my commute, so that’s good. The last two weeks when I was out of commission from my back I basically did nothing. I did meet Nate at the train a couple days (20 min walk total) and he also suggested taking a walk with me a few days. 

Stretch marks: None so far (fingers crossed)

Swelling: None

Belly button: It’s still an inny…seems it will prob stay that way.

Sleep: I’ve been feeling really tired lately. I seem to fall asleep easily but then wake up throughout the night to shift positions (very difficult now!) or pee. I also haven’t been sleeping deeply and so have been remembering some weird and vivid dreams. 

Food cravings:  I’m back to craving what I did in my first trimester- anything juicy, specifically watermelon, nectarines, grapes, etc. Also craving meat whenever I smell someone bbq-ing. 

Symptoms:  Major back pain (I somehow threw my back out), feeling generally large and heavy. I don’t enjoy having to bend down to pick things up. Pretty good otherwise!

What I miss:  Stomach and back sleeping :(

What I’m loving: Baby kicks :)

What I’m looking forward to:  Feeling better prepared for the baby- we’re getting some baby things now but keeping them in a closet til the baby comes home. I finished painting the trees on the nursery wall as you can see evidenced in my belly pic from this week.

We’re also taking a birthing class and that’s making me feel a little more ready. 

Latest Concern: I have a different complaint every week. The doctor told me she’s never had anyone with such odd maladies…but we already knew I was a hypochondriac :) 

Also the birthing class taught us about epidurals and c-sections last class, and I’ve decided I really hope I don’t have to get either. They’re scary!

And just for fun, here’s a collage of my pregnancy thus far…

Pregnancy Collage thru week 30 ~ ElephantEats.com

Blackberry Clafoutis ~ ElephantEats.com

While down at Nate’s mom’s for Memorial Day, I managed to find the energy to make us a dessert in addition to that yummy pasta salad. Nate has been sending me a lot of NYTimes recipes and this one for a berry clafoutis sounded pretty tasty.  

It ended up being really easy and delicious. It was low on the sweetness scale, making the leftovers perfect for breakfast. I’d definitely make it again and maybe try switching up the type of fruit inside. I also think it could have been tasty with some vanilla ice cream on top…but then what isn’t? ;)

Blackberry Clafoutis ~ ElephantEats.com

I’ve been doing some cooking in our new kitchen. Our house is now preeeeetty much done (pics to come when we finish unpacking boxes). The kitchen island has been installed, finally, which gives me another cooking surface (and another area to make a mess on). LC has decided that this is her newest lookout point. I think she’s the kitchen supervisor. 

Blackberry Clafoutis ~ ElephantEats.com

For a Pregnancy Update:

I’m now 26 1/2 weeks. Baby boy is kicking a ton! It’s the weirdest feeling when you feel him actually kick your hand while it’s on your stomach. Sometime I feel his foot (or maybe his fist) swirl around. It’s so surreal and it makes me smile every time :)

26 weeks ~ ElephantEats.com

I had Nate put his hand on my belly to feel the kicking a few times. Now when I ask him to feel it, he says that if he’s felt it a few times, he’s felt it enough. Can you believe him?! I guess it’s different when you’re not the one with a living thing inside your abdomen. 

26 week collage ~ ElephantEats.com

I haven’t been great about keeping up with the weekly photos, mainly because they’d been sanding and then painting the outside of the house and had all our windows covered with a plastic film. Not great for photo lighting, as you might imagine. But painting is almost done and I’ve decided the new belly photo location is the nursery! So you get to see a green background now since the walls in there are a light sage green. 

When I find time in the next month or so, I’m going to be painting some birch trees on the wall, as I want a Woodland nursery theme. 

And just for fun, here’s a couple pics Nate took over the last couple weeks.

Memorial Day Belly ~ ElephantEats.com

 Walk in the Park 26 wks ~ ElephantEats.com 

Blackberry Clafoutis
Serves 8
A not-too-sweet treat, perfect for dessert or brunch!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups blackberries, rinsed and drained on paper towels
  2. 2 tablespoons kirsch, eau de vie de myrtille, or crème de cassis (optional)
  3. 7 Tbsp sugar
  4. 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  5. 1/3 cup almond flour
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. Pinch of salt
  9. 2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt (not greek style)
Instructions
  1. Toss berries in a medium bowl with the kirsch, eau de vie or crème de cassis and 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and let sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together all-purpose flour and almond flour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9- or 10-inch ceramic tart pan or clafoutis dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs with remaining sugar, vanilla, and salt. Place a strainer over the bowl and drain berries, allowing the liquid from the berries to run into the egg and sugar mixture. Whisk to combine. Arrange drained berries in the buttered baking dish.
  4. Beat the flours into the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Add yogurt and combine well. Pour over fruit, scraping out all of the batter with a rubber spatula.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until the top is browned and the clafoutis is firm and puffed. Press gently on the top in the middle to see if it’s firm. If it isn’t, return to the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from NY Times
Adapted from NY Times
http://elephanteats.com/

 Caprese Pasta Salad ~ ElephantEats.com

We’re down at my mother-in-law’s for the long holiday weekend, and her big, bright kitchen inspired me to finally do some cooking.

Making Caprese Pasta Salad ~ ElephantEats.com

I hope that I’m getting this to you with enough notice that you can make it for your big Memorial Day spread tomorrow!

Caprese Pasta Salad 2 ~ ElephantEats.com

Not sure if it’s pregnancy or the weather but I’ve been craving a tangy pasta salad, specifically one with all the flavors of summer. I combined my love of Caprese Salad with pasta into this tasty dish. It’s super easy and quick and can sit out for a decent amount of time, so it’s great for when you have a buffet at your bbq.

Caprese Pasta Salad 3 ~ ElephantEats.com

Also, figured I’d throw in my 23 week pic, although I’m at 25 weeks now ;) Getting bigger every day…

23 weeks ~ ElephantEats.com

23 wks front ~ ElephantEats.com

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Caprese Pasta Salad
Serves 6
A quick and easy pasta salad, full of the flavors of summer!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb farfalle pasta, dried (or any shape you prefer)
  2. 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  4. 3-4 cloves garlic, minced plus 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  5. 5-6 medium tomatoes (this really depends how much tomato you like), diced with half of the juives removed
  6. 2 handfuls fresh basil, chopped
  7. 16 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced
  8. 1 tsp salt (plus more to taste) and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water, then put in large bowl. Put empty pot back on stove top.
  2. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and oil plus salt and pepper.
  3. In the empty pot, add a couple Tablespoons of olive oil and add garlic. Saute a min until fragrant and lightly brown. Remove immediately and add to olive oil mixture.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, basil and mozzarella to bowl of pasta.
  5. Add in oil/vinegar mixture and toss well.
http://elephanteats.com/